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The effect of fetal breathing movements on pulmonary blood flow in fetal sheep



The effect of fetal breathing movements on pulmonary blood flow in fetal sheep



Pediatric Research 35(4 Pt 1): 484-489



In the fetus, normal lung growth requires both fetal breathing movements (FBM) and adequate pulmonary blood flow. We postulated that FBM intermittently increase pulmonary blood flow and may stimulate lung growth through that effect. To test the hypothesis that normal intermittent FBM cause associated intermittent increases in pulmonary blood flow, we studied eight chronically instrumented fetal sheep (gestational ages 125-143 d) on 34 occasions (total study time = 65.7 h). Each fetus had a cuff electromagnetic flow transducer around the left pulmonary artery, electrocortical electrodes, and catheters in the trachea, main pulmonary artery, carotid artery, and amniotic cavity. Mean blood flow though the left pulmonary artery averaged 59 +/- 8 mL/min (mean +/- SEM; per kg: 25 +/- 4 mL/kg/min) and was similar in both the presence (61 +/- 9 mL/min) and absence (57 +/- 7 mL/min) of FBM and during both high and low voltage electrocortical activity. In contrast, in utero phasic pulmonary blood flow varied with FBM, increasing during the inspiratory phase and decreasing during the expiratory phase. Both pulmonary and systemic vascular pressures showed changes in the opposite directions. Arterial pH and blood gas tensions were normal and did not change with FBM or electrocortical activity. We conclude that FBM do not increase mean blood flow through the left pulmonary artery; thus, it is unlikely that FBM stimulate lung growth through changes in pulmonary blood flow.

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Accession: 009562370

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 8047386

DOI: 10.1203/00006450-199404000-00018



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